Jerez day 4: Panis on top as rain wraps things up

BAR-Honda new recruit Olivier Panis was on top of the timesheets when rain began to fall heavily again during Formula 1 testing at Jerez this afternoon (Thursday)

Jerez day 4: Panis on top as rain wraps things up

With no let-up in the downpour, the times set just after lunch proved to be the quickest of the day.

In the end, the four-day test at the southern Spanish circuit was called off 15 minutes early (1645 local time, 1545 GMT) with Bridgestone claiming the dry weather honours, but newcomers Michelin making a strong tilt at the Japanese company's performance in the wet.

Bridgestone-shod runners had dominated the morning's dry session, holding the top eight spots. David Coulthard was fastest early on, but Panis, in only his third day of running with BAR and Honda power, pipped the Scot just before the heavens opened at 2 o'clock local time (1300 GMT).

Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello also bettered Coulthard's time after being on the pace all week. The Brazilian had topped the timesheets on Bridgestones during Wednesday's wet running, despite Michelin appearing to have an edge in rain tyres.

Jarno Trulli's Jordan was fourth, ahead of the impressive Saubers of Nick Heidfeld and Kimi Raikkonen, whose case for a superlicence was heard by the FIA World Council, motorsport's rule-making body, this afternoon in Monaco (see separate story).

Ralf Schumacher ended dry running as best of the Michelin-equipped cars, his Williams-BMW just 0.147s faster than Jenson Button's Supertec-powered Benetton.

Japan's Takuma Sato made his F1 testing debut with Jordan, but a spin on a damp track with dry weather tyres put a temporary halt to his ascent of the learning curve. Sato, a leading runner in this year's British Formula 3 series, is heavily-backed by Honda in its quest for a race-winning Japanese F1 driver.


1 Olivier Panis (B) BAR-Honda 1m23.549s
2 Rubens Barrichello (B) Ferrari 1m23.590s
3 David Coulthard (B) McLaren-Mercedes 1m23.689s
4 Jarno Trulli (B) Jordan-Honda 1m24.025s
5 Nick Heidfeld (B) Sauber-Petronas 1m24.036s
6 Kimi Raikkonen (B) Sauber-Petronas 1m24.175s
7 Alex Wurz (B) McLaren-Mercedes 1m24.576s
8 Darren Manning (B) BAR-Honda 1m24.909s
9 Ralf Schumacher (M) Williams-BMW 1m25.051s
10 Jenson Button (M) Benetton-Renault/Supertec 1m25.198s
11 Pedro de la Rosa (B) Arrows-AMT 1m25.477s
12 Juan Pablo Montoya (M) Williams-BMW 1m25.927s
13 Luciano Burti (M) Jaguar 1m25.96s
14 Takuma Sato (B) Jordan-Honda 1m26.22s
15 Eddie Irvine (M) Jaguar 1m26.40s
16 Marc Gene (M) Williams-BMW 1m27.40s

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